Monday, July 26, 2010

Tax aid, local talent help Canadian film compete

Yahoo Canada, News

Sun Jul 25, 4:00 AM

By Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press

HALIFAX - While a higher dollar and increased competition continue to challenge Canadian film and television production, some provinces say they see signs of stability thanks to enhanced tax credits and a strong stable of domestic producers.

Nova Scotia, which typically ranks fourth in film production behind Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, moved in 2007 to boost its film tax credit to 50 per cent from 35 per cent.

The change was made as several provinces, including neighbours P.E.I. and New Brunswick, introduced increased tax credits when many in the industry were ringing alarm bells over the impact of a higher loonie and fierce competition from the United States.

Ann MacKenzie, CEO of Film Nova Scotia, said the benefits of that increase were noticeable within the next fiscal year.

"It really kick-started 2008-09. That year ended up being our highest on record ... with $150 million in production," said MacKenzie.

Recent numbers released by the province show business declined in fiscal 2009-10 to $97 million, but that is still well above the $75 million registered in 2007, which was the lowest figure in a decade.

MacKenzie said that was largely due to the recession, which led to a drop in commissions from major broadcasters such as CTV and Global.

However, she believes the most recent figures also reveal the strength of Nova Scotia's production capacity because well over half, at $54 million, was generated by local producers.

"I think we're lucky in that we have a critical mass of local production that carries the industry even when we can't attract the foreign stuff," said MacKenzie. "Normally our local production is well over 50 per cent of the total and sometimes it's been as high as 70 or 80 per cent."

MacKenzie said the current calendar year has seen increased activity with the shooting of five feature films since February and two more are ready to go into production in the fall. There are also two larger budget television series that are shot in the Halifax area.

Independent filmmaker John Wesley Chisholm, who is based in Halifax, believes the province has created the conditions for local producers to compete, but the challenge will be to produce stories that will "interest the world."

Chisholm's company, Arcadia Entertainment, specializes in ocean-related documentaries and specials. He says a proliferation of specialty channels has created more opportunities than ever before.

"The market just keeps getting bigger, it's growing at over 10 per cent per year. So we have steady customers and a steadily increasing list of potential customers."

Production giant Ontario also saw a boost in its fortunes when the province enhanced its tax credits to cover any cost film productions incur for equipment, studio rentals and labour costs.

"The dollar is important, but now that our tax credit is more attractive the less we live and die on where the dollar goes," said Donna Zuchlinski, film commissioner with the Ontario Media Development Corp.

She said at $946 million in 2009, Ontario's film production approached the $1.1 billion registered in 2000, when the Canadian dollar was significantly lower than it is today.

But Zuchlinski said a solid core of diversified local companies accounted for the majority of the production figures at $674 million — a number that also includes visual effects, animation and post-production work.

However, in smaller production centres such as New Brunswick, the challenge remains to drum up enough business so local producers can thrive.

Tim Hogan of Fredericton-based Dream Street Pictures said he doesn't see much potential for growth for the province's English-language companies, which currently aren't getting enough business from Canada's large private broadcasters.

Hogan contends that's in contrast to the province's French-language companies, which can access a special federal fund for productions shot outside Quebec. He said the extra help is key in an increasingly competitive landscape.

"There needs to be more money poured into development. The ratio is, for every 10 projects you put out there, one gets made," he said.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Australian Effects & Animation Festival - Awards (AEAF)

AEAF Awards 2010, 11 August 2010, Sydney
Seminars and screenings plus the AEAF Awards screening and presentation.
The AEAF Awards Entry Form

The Australian Effects & Animation Festival Awards - AEAF Awards - is an international competition and screening now in its 13th year and attracts entries from around the world. The Awards recognize and reward excellence and creativity in 10 categories of competition.

Commercials Animation - Commercials VFX - Titles, Idents & Stings - Short Film - Student - Music Video - TV Series - Flash Animation - Feature Films Animation - Feature Films VFX

The AEAF Awards finalists and winners will be screened on 11 August 2010.
The panel of judges will select the top ten entries in each category for screening and the top scoring entry will be named winner and receive the award.
The AEAF Awards are open to all digital content creators and motion graphics, digital video, animation and effects professionals and students.

Digital Media Online Festival For the first time, all entries will have the opportunity to be shown online at prior to judging by the panel.
If you want your peers in the filmmaking community to view your projects, and believe you deserve industry recognition, then enter your work now. If you choose, it will be shown online straightaway.

Previous winners of the AEAF Awards are among the world's premier post-production companies, effects houses and film studios. Past winners include:
Weta Digital - Animal Logic - Industrial Light & Magic - Beeps - Complete Post - Digital Pictures - Fuel - Iloura - Rising Sun Pictures - Fin Design & Effects - Sony Pictures Imageworks - Passion Pictures - The Mill - Box Communications - John Rowe Animation - Framestore CFC - Nectarine - Bigfish Design - Pixar Animation Studios - Students from AFTRS - QUT - VCA - and many others.

Don’t miss out on your chance to be involved in Australia’s leading competition for the creation of animation and effects and digital content creation. Make sure to enter your work in the AEAF Awards 2010. Simply fill in the Entry Form and send it to us with your entry, no later than 30 June 2010.

All finalists’ entries will be screened at the AEAF Awards night on 11 August 2010. Winning entries receive the specially commissioned Award and, most important, exposure through a screening of the entries, press coverage including the Showcase issue of Digital Media World Magazine and the recognition of the digital content creation, animation and VFX communities

Please see the Entry Form to enter online or download an entry form. We look forward to receiving your entry.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Need Artists? Ramping Down?

CASO is developing an online data base system to help identify studio who are looking to ramp up in production and studios who are looking to do temporary layoffs between productions. This will be a new feature on our CASO website and we look forward for everyone's involvement and feedback when we launch.

For the time being, if you are looking for artists for a production coming up or have some artists who are sitting idle and can assist other production, please contact We'll do our best to match up studios.

Current Studios looking for Artists and production personnel:

Imarion Studio: Generalists & Senior Designers/Directors
Specifics: Generalists would need to know everything (modeling/rigging/animation/lighting/rendering/compositing) working with software such as Maya 2011, Photoshop, AfterEffects and or other comp softwares. Our Senior Designer/Director should also know the inner workings of Maya- however, if they are more of a motion gfx person working with 3D max is fine but again, Photoshop, AfterEffects and or other comp softwares are a must.
Please contact:

Guru Studio: modelers, riggers, texture artists, animators, TDs, lighters
Please contact:

House of Cool:
Flash Animators
Please contact:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CASO and The Queen

One of the primary functions of CASO is to market the many talents of our VFX and Animation studios in Ontario. With the support of the OMDC, Christa and I had the pleasure of presenting CASO Studios to LA Production Executives at Pinewood Studios. We presented with the capacity and capabilities studios in Ontario have to offer touching on point such as:

- Efficient, viable production solutions and on going creative innovations
- Healthy, experienced companies with proven track records
- Availability of Tax Credits and other economical benefits
- Availability of talented, trained artists and technical workers
- Collaboration - Ability to work with many studios on a large scale productions

We handed out the CASO USB's and screened the Animation and VFX compilation reels. Many of the executives had excellent production questions regarding what studios have to offer, level of talent, and cost benefit in Ontario. It was a good interactive conversation and CASO was presented in a professional manner focusing on our creative talent pool in the region.

Another exciting moment Christa and I participated in that day was watching the Queen of England roll in for her tour of the facilities and luncheon; one of the perks of being on the Board - which I hope to see CASO members wanting to be apart of in the upcoming fall elections.

We hope to develop more valuable relationships and do more presentations about our industry. To better market what our VFX and Animation community has to offer, we encourage all CASO members to tell us some of the great projects or innovations you are working on. CASO takes pride in promoting your work through our website and marketing material, bringing you up and coming projects that may fit your studios pipeline and sending you to international countries to develop foreign strategies and company growth.

Special thanks to the OMDC and Edith Myers at Pinewood Studios for making this possible.

Wes Lui

Registration Now Open for IN 2010 - Receive 15% off

Registration Now Open for IN 2010 - Receive 15% off

IN 2010 – the INteractive Exchange - explores the visionary ideas, creative excellence and technological innovations that generate truly engaging interactive experiences. From games to film, from social media to mobile, IN 2010 will bring together International industry leaders for 2.5 days of networking, ideation and business in downtown Toronto.

By registering with this code INDP15, receive 15% off Regular Rates. Visit to register.

The conference will be divided into the following streams:

In partnership with Mobile Innovation Week, the IN Mobile stream will present sessions from case studies to discussions about the latest and greatest key developments, the current status and future development trends in wireless technology.

Social Media:
Social Media at IN will focus on the creative and business opportunities in a sector which is continuously reinventing itself through user-generated content. Showcasing leading-edge projects and discussions about the newest communication platforms, these sessions will explore marketing, collaboration, information sharing, and experimental crossovers.

The video games industry continues to be one of the fastest growing industries worldwide. With an eye toward intellectual property, which is exploitable along multiple entertainment verticals, this stream brings creative, production and business perspectives to the table at IN 2010. Industry veterans will discuss current trends, explore leading-edge projects and examine the challenges and opportunities that exist in crossover projects.

This stream focuses on the opportunities that lie in the digital media content space as it continues to grow by showcasing the interconnectedness of various interactive sectors within cultural and digital media industries. This stream highlights the potential creative and business opportunities that exist between platforms.

The visionary stream is dedicated to showcasing thought-leaders. Made up of the innovators, originators, inventors and explorers of big ideas. These forward-thinkers share their vision and in turn, incite new ways of thinking about business models, interactivity, and technology.

IN 2010 – the INteractive Exchange – is presented by Interactive Ontario (io).